Thanks to James Smith in Edmonton for preparing this fantastic article on employment for trades in Alberta. Please note that Alberta is the most strongly regulated of all the provinces in Canada. The AIT approval requirement is unique to trades in Alberta. In December 2012, Immigration Canada announced the opening of Federal Skilled Trades program to help attract and retain more skilled tradespeople in Canada.
Step 1: Gain AIT Approval for Trades in Alberta
Visit this Apprentice & Industry Training (AIT) website and download the application form:
Trade Secrets – AIT Trade Information
Go to the “Trades and Occupations” link, find your trade and fill out the form. Mine took 5-6 weeks from posting to getting the AIT cover letter back on my door step. It has taken 8-10 weeks in some cases. The application costs $450 (Note: some trades, such as welding, require further costs). From arrival in Canada, you have six months to apply and write the end of apprenticeship exam. commonly known at the Red Seal exam.
Step 2: Find Jobs in Alberta
Once you have the AIT cover letter, it’s time to begin the job hunt as you are now certified to work in Alberta. Some of the main companies that work on the oil sands include:
JV Driver, Ensign Energy, Husky Energy, Kucker Steels, PTI Group, Trican, Worley Parsons, Apache Corp, Flint Energy, Harvest Energy, Grant PTS, NWR Partnership, Suncor, Syncrude, Inter Pipeline Fund, JV Driver, Clear Stream Energy, Kiewet, DLI Group, and Studon.
Applying online is acceptable when you are still outside Canada, but networking is the best way to find work. Try emailing the Moving2Canada Team and they can put you in touch with helpful people across the various trades throughout Canada.
Step 3: Work Permit via LMIA (formerly LMO
Note: The Alberta Pilot program is closed as of 31 July 2014
The following trades in Alberta are exempt from requiring a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA):
- Steamfitter and Pipefitter
- Heavy duty equipment mechanic
- Millwright and industrial mechanic
The Alberta Pilot Project is run by the Alberta government for trades in Alberta that are in major demand. It means you can skip a major part of the application process to immigrate and work in Canada. If your occupation is listed, your employer does not need to apply for a Labour Market Opinion (LMO) on your behalf. You will be granted a work permit on arrival in Canada. The LMO process is not complex. Use the detailed information we provide to guide you and your employer.
Step 4: Arrival in Canada
On arrival in Canada, the immigration officer requested the following:
- the AIT cover letter
- police clearance form
- the job offer letter from my new company
- $150 cash to process the application
Step 5: Sit Red Seal exam within 180 days
I got my work permit in 15 minutes. Within three months, I had to go back to AIT and apply to write my Red Seal exam within 180 days from my arrival in Canada.
The Federal Skilled Trades program launched in Jan 2013 will make it easier for skilled tradespeople to apply for residency and stay in Canada. This Federal Skilled Trades program is capped to 3,000 places for 2013 initially, but will expand in 2014.
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